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Indie game 'Reflect' showcases the future of PC gaming graphics; ray tracing in real-time

DSOGaming writes: "We have known for some time that ray tracing and global illumination would be the two ground-breaking 'features' in future graphics and we are excited to finally see ray-tracing in real-time. The game uses an in-house engine called, Brigade Engine, and comes with a path tracer for rendering. Make no mistake though, Reflect is quite demanding but damn does it look sexy. Ray-tracing is as ground-breaking as iD Software’s real-time dynamic lighting that was showcased in Doom 3. Yeah, we are talking about great stuff here guys, though some of you might not like the noise that is introduced in Reflect!"

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Bimkoblerutso2450d ago

It's really primitive at this point, but even this early on something about the technique makes things look more...I don't know how to describe it, really. "Organic," maybe? Does that make sense?

Snookies122450d ago

Yeah, I looked at that silver mirror ball that was going through the tubes and was like... "That's pretty damn cool!" Can't wait to see what form it'll take later on, and how it'll be implemented in games. :)

adorie2450d ago

organic, life-like, pick your poison. :P

wicko2450d ago

Probably because the reflections and lighting are far more accurate than rasterization could give us currently. Lighting in most games these days are "baked", meaning they're pre-rendered. A game may have a few dynamic lights kicking around (there's many different ways to accomplish this) but usually they are designed to be calculated quickly - which sacrifices quality. Lighting via rasterization is approximate - the goal is to look realistic as possible with reasonable performance, but doesn't behave as light actually does.

Ray-tracing, on the other hand, mimics light - it calculates a light ray's path. Each pixel on the screen is calculated as a ray of light - it finds which objects it collides with, and calculates how an object is lit at the point it collided, based on reflectivity, global illumination, and other properties. This is basically how light actually behaves, so it's far more realistic than rasterization.

However, it's far more expensive to calculate, especially without dedicated hardware. I wrote a really basic ray-tracer back in university, on old pentium 4s, and it took about 5 seconds to render a single frame, which only consisted of a sphere and a few planes.

The noise you see in that video is kind of like interlacing - the engine has decided not to calculate certain pixels, probably based on when they've been rendered last and depending on what the current framerate is, and they'll be drawn later to complete the image. Pretty neat stuff.

hesido2450d ago

The noise is most likely from low sampling count per pixel for radiosity. Things like radiosity and area lights - where light rays are normally scattered, require more samples per pixels to simulate the effect. Otherwise, a single sample per pixel would be enough. When these are in effect, the higher the sample, the more stable the result, which eliminates noise.

A few more examples of ray-tracing techniques which requires multiples samples per pixels, which I believe this game is *not* using are reflection blurring, subsurface scattering.

I believe a hybrid approach will be the best if possible, currently, true realtime reflections are both somewhat inaccurate, and also very much time consuming for rasterization.

egidem2450d ago

^ No idea what you guys just said, but it sounds pretty darn cool

wicko2450d ago

Interesting - I don't know much about radiosity calculation, I'll have to look that up.

I assumed it was just deciding not to calculate some rays to save performance, as I noticed some areas had more noise than others, and I read it does adjust quality to improve performance - but your explanation also improves performance (probably more so).

Pandamobile2450d ago

I ran that tech demo with the glass dragon. Managed 2 FPS on a GTX 480, lol, but damn did it look pretty after it had sampled a couple times.

wicko2450d ago

I just tried this game on my system - 2x GTX 460's - it ran, probably around 15fps, and there was quite a bit of input lag, but that's still really impressive - We might see more of this thanks to CUDA.

ATi_Elite2450d ago (Edited 2450d ago )

Ray Tracing requires a lot of GPU or CPU power! They do not list the specs of the PC running this and also the Brigade Engine isn't well refined yet.

Ray Tracing is the next step in video game graphics. It will provide easier Photo realistic graphics with superior lighting effects and proper light reflection and shadowing.

Think of it as some good CGI that you will be able to play once it takes shape.

the GTX500/HD5000 series have some Ray Tracing benchmarks floating around on the Internet BUT the HD7000/Next Nvidia cards should be able to give us 30 fps using a Fully capable Ray Traced Game Engine.

steve30x2450d ago

With the NVIDIA Ray Tracing demo the garage and my GTX580 , core I5 760 @ 3.6GHZ and 8GB ddr3 1600MHz ram I see about 5FPS

Orpheus2450d ago

I kind of have a feeling that Metro LL will be the first AAA game to use ray tracing.

When PC games hardware asked about the use of compute shaders, Oles replied : "We utilized compute shaders in one more place."

http://www.pcgameshardware....

I guess this one more place is raytracing :D . Thats just a guess tho.

john22450d ago

Fermi had the Optix Ray Tracing tech demo (a tech demo with a Ferrari car). Looked amazing. Damn, I seriously can't wait for proper realtime GI and Ray-Tracing in our games

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